IOP welcomes Fabiola Gianotti as next director-general of CERN

5 November 2014

The IOP has welcomed the announcement that the next director-general of CERN will be Fabiola Gianotti – the first woman to be appointed to the role.

Fabiola Gianotti
Credit: Cern

The appointment is due to be formalised at the December session of CERN’s council, and her mandate will begin on 1 January 2016, following a transition year when she will be working with the current director-general, Rolf Heuer.

He said: “Fabiola Gianotti is an excellent choice to be my successor. It has been a pleasure to work with her for many years. I look forward to continuing to work with her through 2015, and am confident that CERN will be in very good hands.”

Gianotti, an Italian physicist who has been a researcher at CERN since 1994, was project leader of the ATLAS experiment from March 2009 to February 2013, during the time when the discovery of the Higgs boson by the ATLAS and CMS experiments was announced, and she presented the historic results of the ATLAS experiment on 4 July 2012. She has worked on several CERN experiments, being involved in detector R&D and construction, software development and data analysis.

She is the author or co-author of more than 500 publications in peer-reviewed journals, has served on a number of international committees and has received numerous awards and honorary degrees, as well as an honorary professorship at the University of Edinburgh.

Gianotti said: “It is a great honour and responsibility for me to be selected as the next CERN director-general following 15 outstanding predecessors. CERN is a centre of scientific excellence and a source of pride and inspiration for physicists from all over the world. It is also a cradle for technology and innovation, a fount of knowledge and education, and a shining, concrete example of worldwide scientific cooperation and peace.”

The IOP’s president, Frances Saunders, said: “We congratulate Fabiola Gianotti on her appointment to this key role in the worldwide endeavour to collaborate in particle physics research. Her remarkable record in the field makes her ideally placed to lead CERN into its next phase and we are delighted that a female physicist has been chosen for the post. We are confident that her position at the head of such a high-profile facility will make her a role model and inspiration to young women.”